By now everyone know about the rift between Steven Wilson and former drummer for his band, Marco Minnemann. People are going to pick sides but is it really that easy? I think this goes way beyond a gold record and whether or not Wilson purposefully slighted Minnemann. This is a study in personalities and chemistry.
Wilson has been a leader for quite sometime now. While many people seem to think Porcupine Tree was a band, really it was Wilson’s project. He only brought in others when it became clear that he had a chance to tour the project. So he needed a band. Once he felt like those people were limiting his output, he went out on his own.
Once again, Wilson hired a band. As with any band, other people have input. To what extent the members of the Steven Wilson band had input is debatable. However, the material was written by Wilson and his name is on the music. Minnemann is an equally talented artist and he knows he is. So there’s some jealousy at play here and honestly that is understandable.
Back when Dream Theater chose Mike Mangini over Minnemann, I thought they made the right choice and it had nothing to do with ability. Mangini is the “good soldier” type and that’s what they really needed. Minnemann is VERY over the top and outgoing. He is also very opinionated, which reminds me a lot of Mike Portnoy. Personality type is just as critical to a band as talent.
Remember when the Storm Corrosion project was announced as Wilson, Mikael Akerfeldt and Portnoy? Remember how quickly Wilson said they were not using any percussion…but Gavin Harrison plays on the album? I am guessing that Wilson was not initially aware that Minnemann was quite as opinionated as Portnoy. Honestly he really isn’t QUITE as opinionated but he isn’t the “good soldier” type like Mangini or current drummer Craig Blundell.
This rift was inevitable. The gold record was just the easiest way to force it all out into the open. People don’t always get along and bands disband because of that reason as much as “artistic differences.” But the bottom line is that Wilson doesn’t owe Minnemann a thing. That’s why it’s not Porcupine Tree and it’s not called the Steven Wilson BAND on the album cover. It’s also why people like Mangini and Blundell will always find work and why people like Portnoy and Minnemann have extensive work histories.